Posted: 06/16/2021

A Museum for Every Interest in Lancaster, PA

From history to hands on, we’ve got you covered.

For an authentic immersion in early Pennsylvania German life (1740-1940), visit Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum. Photo Cr

History to hands-on, art to industrial – there’s a museum for every interest in Lancaster and the surrounding area. They are the perfect place to spend a cold or rainy afternoon or wander around to escape the summer’s heat. You can dive into local history or let the kids learn with hands-on activities and experiments.

Find the museum that strikes your fancy and get ready to learn.

Transportation: Automobiles, locomotives and fire trucks – oh my! Learn about these vehicles and their history, and browse many relics of past eras that relate to how people moved from place-to-place. Dive into the history and effects of these vehicles on society.

AACA Museum (Hershey) is an automotive museum featuring antique vehicles, movie-themed exhibits and the famous Hershey’s kissmobile.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg) is a railroad museum celebrating Pennsylvania’s rich railroading history.

The Pennsylvania National Fire Museum (Harrisburg) is a museum devoted to fire fighter heritage and history.

Barry's Car Barn (Intercourse) hosts a collection of American muscle cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Just for Kids: If cabin fever has set in or you’re looking for a way to sneak learning into summer break, head over to one of Lancaster’s kid-centric museums. Science fun can be found at Lancaster Science Museum and North Museum, while kids can dive deep into their imaginations at Hands-on House. These museums making learning fun!

Lancaster Science Factory (Downtown Lancaster) is a hands-on, interactive museum featuring exhibits that tap into science, technology and engineering.

North Museum of Nature and Science (Downtown Lancaster) is a science museum specializing in natural science with a live animal room, planetarium and collections of rocks, fossils and more.

Hands-on House Children’s Museum (Lancaster) is an interactive museum featuring exhibits that promote hands-on learning through play.

The Hershey Story (Hershey) is a family-friendly museum celebrating the life and work of Milton S. Hershey, and the town known for chocolate making.

National Toy Train Museum (Ronks) displays rare, unusual and specialty trains and accessories from the 1800s to the present representing over a 100 different manufacturers. There is also a Research Library with a wealth of information on toy trains and manufacturers.

Turkey Hill Experience (Columbia) features interactive exhibits allowing you to learn about dairy culture, the story of Turkey Hill Dairy and how the company's ice cream and iced tea flavors are selected and created.

History: As one of America’s oldest inland cities, Lancaster is packed with history and the historical sites that celebrate it. Many include tours with guides dressed in period clothes and special reenactments that create a truly immersive experience. From early settlers to the first (and only) president from PA, you’ll learn the way of life from back in the day.

LancasterHistory/President Buchanan’s Wheatland (Downtown Lancaster) is a history center featuring exhibits and galleries centering on Lancaster’s history and the former home of James Buchanan, America’s 15th president

Hans Herr House and Museum (Willow Street) is a historic home built in 1719 featuring several barns and outbuildings, animals, and exhibits focusing on Mennonite history and colonial and Victorian farm life

Christiana Underground Railroad Center (Christiana) is a free, publicly accessible historical site detailing the town’s involvement in the Underground Railroad, located at the Zercher’s hotel

Ephrata Cloister (Ephrata) is a historic religious community dating back to the 1730s where visitors can explore the buildings and the community’s unique way of life

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum (Lancaster) is a 100-acre living history museum that presents Pennsylvania German history and culture

State Museum of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg) offers visitors four floors of exhibits presenting the state's story from earth's beginning to the present. Popular attractions include the Dino Lab, Carboniferous Forest, Hall of Mammals, Native American Village, and Civil War exhibit

The National Civil War Museum (Harrisburg) is dedicated to the education of the American Civil War 1861-1865. This unique, one of a kind facility portrays the humanistic side of war, from slavery to camp life to the turmoil of 19th century politics, with equal emphasis to both sides

Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center (Gettysburg) is a destination to explore and learn about the Battle of Gettysburg. Visitors can watch a special film, A New Birth of Freedom and take a tour of the battle field

Historic Rock Ford (Lancaster) offers guided tours of the 1794 Georgian-style mansion of General Edward Hand, adjutant general to George Washington during the Revolutionary War

Mennonite Information Center (Lancaster) offers information and insight on the life and beliefs of the Amish and Mennonites

Industrial: From the production of large pieces of iron and steel to the more intricate creation of watches and clocks, you’ll get a peek at these industries – from their history to their present day artistry. If you’re fascinated by how things are made, you’ll dig the following museums.

The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum (Coatesville) is a museum that celebrates steelmaking and the Lukens and Huston families, who produced steel used in many notable projects

Cornwall Iron Furnace (Cornwall) is a historical site that is home to America’s most complete charcoal fueled ironmaking complex, used in the early American iron industry

National Watch & Clock Museum (Columbia) is a museum solely dedicated to horology – the history, science and art of timekeeping and timekeepers, and featuring an extensive collection to clocks, watches and other timekeeping devices

American Military Edged Weaponry Museum (Intercourse) is one of this country's most comprehensive collections of U.S. military knives and artifacts used by the American servicemen.

Art: For those who prefer to stroll around an art museum, Lancaster has a few to check out during your visit. Many incorporate rotating exhibits into the mix, filling each visit with new art to browse. The variety is superb – from local artists to the work of Charles Demuth.

Demuth Museum (Downtown Lancaster) is a museum housing the paintings of Charles Demuth, located in his former studio and home

Lancaster Museum of Art (Downtown Lancaster) is a small museum showcasing local, regional & international works of art

Phillips Museum of Art (Franklin & Marshall College, Downtown Lancaster) is a museum located at Franklin & Marshall Collage featuring permanent and rotating fine art exhibitions, including student art

Red Raven Art Company (Downtown Lancaster) represent over 40 established artists, both local and regional. Part of their mission statement includes nurturing emerging talent. They have dedicated a portion of our gallery space to the display of up and coming young talent.

Visit our Museums page to find even more to explore!

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